Today's News

Starke County Coroner Releases Autopsy Results

Results of a forensic autopsy conducted in the case of 33-year-old Christopher Howard of Grovertown have been released by Starke County Coroner Kris Rannells.

He stated that Howard died instantly of multiple systems blunt force trauma, including massive head, chest and abdominal injuries.

An investigation by the Starke County Sheriff’s Department found that Howard was last seen leaving friend’s house at 2 a.m. on Tuesday in the area of 1025 E. and 50 N. in Starke County. He was reported missing on Tuesday afternoon. His vehicle was found in the area of 900 East and 500 North at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday and it appeared to have been involved in a collision.

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County Officials Considering Uses for Existing Jail Building

starke-county-jail-outsideThe current Starke County Jail in downtown Knox will still be owned by the county and used for correctional programs once the new Starke County Sheriff’s Office and Detention Center east of Knox on State Road 8 opens next year. Commissioner Kathy Norem says the building is part of the collateral for the loan to build the new structure, so it cannot be sold or torn down and must be used in the justice arena. She says the county set aside money to renovate the building. Continue reading

Charges Expected Today Against Carjacking Suspect

Starke County Prosecutor Nicholas Bourff hopes to file formal charges today against the Knox man accused of stealing two cars and leading police on a high speed chase Friday afternoon. Police say Gary Chavez, 57, of Knox, commandeered the first car in the Mark Bailey’s Discount Center parking lot at 3:41 p.m. He switched vehicles in English Lake, according to authorities, and left the owner of the first stolen car behind when he took a 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee.  Continue reading

Coroner Releases Preliminary Autopsy Results in Chavez Death

The estranged wife of the Knox man accused of stealing three vehicles and leading police on a high-speed chase through four counties Friday afternoon was murdered. Kimberly Chavez, 50, of Portage, was found dead Friday evening at the home of her estranged husband, Gary. Continue reading

Prosecutor Waiting for Autopsy Report Before Filing Charges Against Chavez

Starke County Sheriff's Deputy Bill Dulin and Prosecutor Nick Bourff speak to the media about the June 8, 2014 carjacking and ensuing pursuit.

Starke County Sheriff’s Deputy Bill Dulin and Prosecutor Nick Bourff speak to the media about the June 8, 2014 carjacking and ensuing pursuit.

Starke County Prosecutor Nichoals Bourff does not anticipate filing charges against the Knox man police say stole two cars in Starke County and led them on a high-speed chase through four northwest Indiana counties until at least tomorrow. Gary Chavez, 57, of Knox is still in critical condition at Christ Advocate Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Ill. He’s been there since Friday night after shooting himself in an apparent attempt to avoid arrest by police in Crown Point. They used stop sticks to flatten the tires on the truck Chavez was driving. Continue reading

Accused Carjacker Still Critical, Formal Charges Pending

Officers from the Crown Point Police Department used stop sticks to end a four-county high-speed chase Friday afternoon.

Officers from the Crown Point Police Department used stop sticks to end a four-county high-speed chase Friday afternoon.

The Knox man police say stole three vehicles and led officers from multiple departments on a high-speed chase through four counties Friday afternoon is still in critical condition at Christ Advocate Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Ill. The pursuit started in Starke County when Gary Chavez, 57, of Knox, allegedly stole a car at gunpoint from the parking lot at Mark Bailey’s Discount Center. Continue reading

More Information Expected Today on Carjacking, Apparent Homicide

Starke County Sheriff's Deputy Bill Dulin and Prosecutor Nick Bourff speak to the media about the June 8, 2014 carjacking and ensuing pursuit.

Starke County Sheriff’s Deputy Bill Dulin and Prosecutor Nick Bourff speak to the media about Friday’s carjacking and ensuing pursuit.

The Starke County Prosecutor’s Office expects to file formal charges today against the Knox man accused of stealing two cars in Starke County and leading police from multiple agencies on a high-speed chase through four counties Friday afternoon. Continue reading

Starke County Coroner Tentatively Identifies Apparent Homicide Victim

The apparent homicide victim found late Friday afternoon at a rural Knox home after a high speed chase that started with a carjacking at Mark Bailey’s Discount Center and ended with a self-inflicted gunshot wound on Interstate 65 in Lake County has been tentatively identified. Continue reading

Starke County Sheriff’s Department Releases Accused Carjacker’s Name

Officers from the Crown Point Police Department used stop sticks to end a four-county high-speed chase.

Officers from the Crown Point Police Department used stop sticks to end a four-county high-speed chase.

Officials with the Starke County Sheriff’s Department have released the name of the man accused of stealing three vehicles and leading police from multiple agencies on a high-speed chase through Starke, LaPorte, Porter and Lake Counties Friday afternoon. Continue reading

Coroner Scheduling Autopsy for Apparent Homicide Victim

Starke County Coroner Kris Rannells is scheduling a forensic autopsy for the victim of an apparent homicide at a California Township home. Investigators from the Starke County Sheriff’s Department found the woman late Friday afternoon after a high-speed chase that began with a carjacking at Mark Bailey’s Discount Center on State Road 10at 3:41 p.m.  and ended on Interstate 65 in Lake County when the suspect apparently shot himself after police deployed stop sticks to end the pursuit. He is in critical condition at Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, Ill. Authorities have not released his name and will not do so until proper next of kin notifications are made. Continue reading

Cause and Manner of Death of Isaiah Grounds Released by Starke County Coroner

Isaiah Lincoln Grounds

Isaiah Lincoln Grounds

Starke County Coroner Kris Rannells has released the cause and manner of death in the case of Isaiah Grounds.

A forensic autopsy was conducted at the Northeast Indiana Forensic Center in Fort Wayne by Forensic Pathologist Dr. Scott Wagner. Dr. Wagner determined that Grounds’ cause of death was a combined effect of acute blood loss from injuries consistent with a motor vehicle crash and cold exposure. The manner of death was accidental.

Grounds was reported missing on Dec. 12. He was last seen alive at the Grovertown Truckstop entering a vehicle in the early morning hours on Dec. 10. That vehicle was found abandoned following an accident at 3:30 a.m. on Dec. 10. A resident searching for Isaiah Grounds on horseback found his body a half mile from the accident scene on Dec. 23.

Rannells stated that no further details are being released at this time. An investigation is ongoing with the Indiana State Police along with the Starke County Sheriff’s Department.

Single-Vehicle Fatality Claims Plymouth Woman’s Life

A single-vehicle crash Monday evening near Grovertown claimed a Plymouth woman’s life. Cathryn Ellison, 24, of Plymouth, was westbound on 300 North just west of 1100 East, lost control of her vehicle and was ejected, according to information provided this morning by the Starke County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies responded to a report of a vehicle in a ditch. Ellison was trapped underneath it. Starke County Chief Deputy Coroner Doug O’Donnell pronounced her dead at the scene. Her official cause of death is listed as traumatic asphyxiation. Coroner Kris Rannells tells WKVI news that means the weight of the vehicle on top of her would not allow her to breathe. The Hamlet Police Department, Koontz Lake, Hamlet and Washington Township Fire Departments and the Indiana State Police assisted the Starke County Sheriff’s Office at the scene. The Indiana State Police will be reconstructing the crash.

 

Knox Woman Died of Injuries Sustained in House Fire

A Knox woman whose body was found in a house fire investigation on Monday night died of injuries sustained in the incident.

Starke County Coroner Kris Rannells told WKVI that he will know more about 78-year-old Zorka Antonijevick’s cause of death when toxicology results return. Rannells will analyze carbon monoxide levels and other factors to determine a final ruling once those results are received in approximately eight weeks.

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Knox Fire Victim Identified

Starke County Coroner Kris Rannells has released the name of the woman who died in a Monday night house fire on State Road 10 near County Road 300 East in Knox. He’s scheduled an autopsy tomorrow in Fort Wayne to determine the cause of death for 78-year-old Zorka Antonijevick. Bass Lake Fire Chief Les Jensen says his department was called to her home at 2795 East State Road 10 in Knox around 11 Monday night and remained on the scene for 8 hours. The North Judson-Wayne Township Volunteer Fire Department was called in to assist. Jensesn says the fire started accidentally but does not want to elaborate on the specifics until an investigator from the state fire marshal’s office has a look.

One Found Dead in House Fire

One person was found dead at a fire scene at 2795 E. State Road 10 in Knox on Monday night.

The Bass Lake Fire Department was called to the scene at 11:05 p.m. CT and firefighters were on the scene for approximately eight hours. Members of the North Judson-Wayne Township Fire Department assisted at the scene.

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Coroner Rules Out Homicide as Cause of Death for Grounds

Isaiah Lincoln Grounds

Isaiah Lincoln Grounds

The Grovertown man whose body was discovered in a ditch near his home Monday was not the victim of a homicide. Starke County Coroner Kris Rannells tells WKVI news he’s awaiting preliminary autopsy results on 26-year-old Isaiah Lincoln Grounds in order to confirm his cause of death. Grounds was last seen on Monday, Dec. 9 at the Grovertown Truck Stop, and his wrecked car was reportedly found abandoned nearby. The Starke County Sheriff’s Office issued a missing person’s alert for Grounds on Thursday, Dec. 12. Rannells says the initial pathology reports will be available next week. The autopsy was conducted yesterday.

 

Tentative ID Released in Death Investigation

Isaiah Lincoln Grounds

Isaiah Lincoln Grounds

Starke County Coroner Kris Rannells has stated that the person found in the Grovertown area has been tentatively identified as 26-year-old Isaiah Lincoln Grounds.

A confirmation of the person’s identity and other details will be released after a complete autopsy is conducted on Thursday.

The body was found in the Grovertown area in Starke County on Monday. Isaiah Grounds had been missing for a few weeks and the Starke County Sheriff’s Department had sent a notice out about his disappearance on Dec. 12. Grounds was reportedly last seen on Monday, Dec. 9 as he was leaving his residence at 2425 N. 1025 E. in Grovertown.

The case remains under investigation with the Starke County Coroner’s office.

Body Found, Starke County Police Investigating

The Starke County Sheriff’s Department is investigating a death in the Grovertown area.

Sheriff Oscar Cowen told WKVI that a body was found at a location in Grovertown around noon and that person has not yet been identified. Starke County Coroner Kris Rannells and officials at the sheriff’s department are tending to the scene and will release information as it becomes available.

The Indiana State Police will also assist in the investigation.

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